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Sometimes I get so wrapped up in historical trivia, that I’m oblivious to what’s going on around me.  

What type of truncheon is now being used by the Metropolitan Police? Is it the expandable steel baton? Was the PR-24 ever in general use? When did they stop using the familiar wooden truncheon? Why? Are the other UK forces on the same page? I would appreciate any opinions, regardless of how flawed they might seem.

Thanks, Mike. 

Edited by Mike McLellan

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41 minutes ago, Mike McLellan said:

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in historical trivia, that I’m oblivious to what’s going on around me.  

What type of truncheon is now being used by the Metropolitan Police? Is it the expandable steel baton? Was the PR-24 ever in general use? When did they stop using the familiar wooden truncheon? Why? Are the other UK forces on the same page? I would appreciate any opinions, regardless of how flawed they might seem.

Thanks, Mike. 

Don't know about the Met, but when I first joined up 17 years ago I was issued with a PR24 had it for a number of years before being issued with a Casco, but there is talk about bring the PR24 back?  Personally I preferred the PR24. 

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I've no doubt a Metpol. officer will correct me, but I think they have a choice of long straight baton, metal "Asp" baton or a PR24. The traditional wooden truncheon was discontinued at various points in time depending on the force. Each force makes its own decision with regard to the weapon used.

Dave. 

Edited by Dave Wilkinson

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16 minutes ago, Dave Wilkinson said:

I've no doubt a Metpol. officer will correct me, but I think they have a choice of long straight baton, metal "Asp" baton or a PR24. The traditional wooden truncheon was discontinued at various points in time depending on the force. Each force makes its own decision with regard to the weapon used.

Dave. 

Think the Asp is a PSU issue item?  I would have thought response bobbies would have the Casco? 

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Thanks guys. Approximately when did the Met approve the PR-24 or the steel expandable? Any thoughts on why they thought that a change was needed? 

PR-24s were introduced at my facility in the early ‘90s. They could only be carried (or used) by sergeants, and only those sergeants who had passed the qualification final exam, which was impossible without considerable practice. As I recall, only two sergeants were qualified to use them. I was not one of them. They fell out of favor in less than a year, and were withdrawn from service. 

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3 hours ago, bigjarofwasps said:

Think the Asp is a PSU issue item?  I would have thought response bobbies would have the Casco? 

You have to bear in mind that there is no National policy in respect of what type of weapon is carried. An "Asp" was the only type of baton issued in my last force. It may be a PSU item in your force but not in others. Each Chief Constable is at liberty to authorise whatever type he considers appropriate.

Dave. 

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7 hours ago, Mike McLellan said:

What type of truncheon is now being used by the Metropolitan Police? Is it the expandable steel baton? Was the PR-24 ever in general use? When did they stop using the familiar wooden truncheon? Why? Are the other UK forces on the same page?

The wooden truncheon was officially declared obsolete by the Metropolitan Police (MPS) in 2004, though it had in practice been superseded by both straight plastic batons (the APB) and extendable metal batons (GFLB) of various sizes in the previous decade.  The extendable baton of the ASP (Armaments Systems and Procedure) or CASCO (Counter Assault Systems) pattern won in the end, though straight plastic batons are still issued for public order.

The PR-24 (manufactured by Monadnock) did look it was going to be the one to replace the truncheon for a while across the country (though, as noted, it was ultimately down to the individual chiefs, subject to Home Office approval of pattern).  The perpendicular handle assisted in blocking and control holds; swinging it by the handle also added momentum to a strike.  But it had a number of issues, some practical, some presentational.  It was difficult to wear in a car, which meant it tended to be left behind in the car, which somewhat defeated the object of having it.  More training (and refresher training) was required to employ it.  Unlike the truncheon (and to a lesser extent the ASP etc) it was pretty much impossible to carry in a covert or low profile fashion - this was considered to run contrary to policing by consent.  It was closely associated with the 1991 Rodney King beating and subsequent riots.  And, linked to the last concern, it was seen as "American" (though so were the ASP and CASCO but never mind ...) and therefore unsound, on some fundamental level, as "not invented here".  

I am unaware any forces still issue PR-24's; mine, like most, only did so for a brief few years, and all forces I have dealings with issue extendable metal batons of various makes and sizes as standard now.  Truthfully, whilst the plastic public order baton still gets some play (a look on Youtube for policing of football matches, particularly the derbys, serves to demonstrate the point) there is little confidence in the effectiveness of the extendable baton and it is rarely used as an offensive or defensive weapon (it does still have a role as a letter box opener, window smasher and sleeping colleague poker though).

Exactly why there was a change from the truncheon after hundreds of years of use is a bit more complicated but, briefly, can be explained by rising numbers of assaults officers, pressure from the Police Federation and the differing views of successive Home Secretaries).

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